Several southern Maine towns enacted parking bans and one university announced it was closing both its campuses in advance of a major winter storm that was projected to dump between eight and 12 inches of snow over a wide section of the state.

Portland was in line to get up to 12 inches by Thursday night, with towns to the north and east likely to receive slightly less.

Mike Cempa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said it started snowing in Portland around 9:30 Wednesday night.

The Maine Turnpike Authority reduced the speed limit on the turnpike to 45 mph Wednesday night.

Cempa said the storm will take nearly 24 hours to pass through the state, ending sometime Thursday night.

“The worse part of the storm will start late tonight and last into daybreak,” Cempa said.

The University of New England announced on its website that its campuses in Portland and Biddeford will be closed Thursday due to inclement weather.

Biddeford, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Windham, Gorham, Scarborough and Brunswick were among the towns that enacted parking bans Wednesday night. The length of the bans will vary, with some lasting into Friday.

For a detailed forecast, click here.

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